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The Cords of Vanity

James Branch Cabell


The Cords of Vanity by James Branch Cabell is the thirteenth installment in his Biography of the Life of Manuel series.

Robert Etheridge Townsend is an arrogant young man from a prominent wealthy family (he is the great-grandson of Jurgen of Poictesme). As a teenager, he falls in love with Stella, beginning the first of many love affairs. Townsend’s vanity allows him to proceed through these love affairs with disregard for the women who are the objects of his “affection.” As the years pass, he begins to mature, but still struggles to overcome the need to avoid any situation that may cause him unpleasantness.

The Cords of Vanity was originally published in 1909, and was revised in 1920 (the edition on which this ebook is based) with an introduction by author Wilson Follett. Six of the chapters were originally published as short stories in the monthly literary magazine The Smart Set.

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